Sociotechnical alignment in biomedicine: the 3D bioprinting market beyond technology convergence

Bicudo, Edison, Faulkner, Alex and Li, Phoebe (2021) Sociotechnical alignment in biomedicine: the 3D bioprinting market beyond technology convergence. Technology in Society, 66. a101668 1-12. ISSN 0160-791X

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The nature of hybrid technologies has been frequently interpreted with the concept of technology convergence. However, this concept tends to highlight only technical aspects of technology and market evolution. In order to provide a more comprehensive picture, the concept of sociotechnical alignment is explored here.

The field of 3D bioprinting (the production of biological structures with automated, computer-controlled bioprinters) is focused on here. In the emergent global bioprinting market, companies have relied on three core technologies (tissue engineering, additive manufacturing, and software development) and continue to receive inputs from other technologies.

On the biological side, bioprinting has benefited from new approaches such as the use of induced pluripotent stem cells. On the engineering side, it has been possible to use relatively cheap technologies such as open-source processing Arduino boards. On the software side, the proliferation of open source packages has strengthened the possibilities of bioprinting. The combination between these and other technology fringes involves a process of sociotechnical alignment whereby technical, scientific, and political issues are always at play.

As a result, different companies have been able to realize different market strategies, having varied geographical reach. However, the first movements towards extensive globalization can also be noticed. In this way, the current diversity of the bioprinting market may be jeopardized in the years to come.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: 3D printing, sociotechnical alignment, technology convergence, open source, market analysis, sociology
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > International Relations
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 12 Jul 2021 07:09
Last Modified: 28 Feb 2022 17:28

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Project NameSussex Project NumberFunderFunder Ref
Biomodifying technologies and experimental space: organisational and regulatory implications for the translation and valuation of health researchG2291ESRC-ECONOMIC & SOCIAL RESEARCH COUNCILES/P002943/1
Biomodifying technologies: Governing converging research in the life sciencesG2501LEVERHULME TRUSTRPG-2017-330